Lesley Stoyan: A Bowl of Cherries


Mushroom Crostini with Thyme-Shallot Vinaigrette Recipe

And Cherry Champagne Cocktail For Mother's Day

So we are mothers. A day devoted to celebrating this must be good, no? In both senses of that imperative.

But Mother’s Day comes loaded with baggage: sometimes sweet (a child’s handmade card), sometimes forced (a child’s handmade card) and sometimes, well, uninspired (spa certificates...just, no.)

Brunch is overrated; roses are overpriced; breakfast in bed means scrambled eggs in the sheets. A day off (and alone) might appeal, but perhaps seems a rebuff.

What do women want for Mother’s Day? Let’s start with a gorgeous fizzy cocktail in a stemmed glass, shall we? And forget a big dinner. Extend that magical violet hour just a little longer, and nibble on savoury toasts heaped with a tangle of fragrant mushrooms.

(Even reading that sounds delicious, doesn’t it? It smacks the artificial sweetness right out of Mother’s Day.)

Husbands, take heed: to do this properly, take an hour to assemble the below whilst occupying the children. Yes, you can manage both at once (mothers do it all the time). Give your wife a sliver of time to herself. Invite her for a cocktail when all is prepared, and beautiful.

And if you’re lucky enough to have grandmothers and mothers-in-law around too, pour extra flutes of bubbles, and toast all the mothers who have come before.

A happy day to all the mothers out there.


Cherry Champagne Cocktail


Organic sugar cubes
Bitters (we like Twisted and Orange Bitter from www.victoriaspirits.com )
Maraschino cherries with stems (try the all-natural Merry Maraschino ones from www.tillenfarms.com ...festive even without the red dye of our childhood!)
Champagne (or Cava or Prosecco)
Splash of brandy

Place a stemmed cherry in the bottom of a pretty champagne flute. Drop in one sugar cube, sprinkle on a few drops of bitters, fill up with champagne and add a splash of brandy. Sip irresponsibly...it is, after all, Mother’s Day!


Mushroom Crostini with Farm-Fresh Butter and Thyme-Shallot Vinaigrette

Mushroom topping:

3 tablespoons farm-fresh butter (we like Stirlings!)
1 shallot, minced
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
4 cups mixed mushrooms, roughly chopped (we used shitake, King Oyster, and cremini) 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme. Sauté until browned, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.


Thyme vinaigrette:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons Dijon
1 small shallot, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil plus more for brushing
Salt & pepper
8 slices (about 1⁄2 inch thick) good-quality French baguette (we shopped at Thobor’s Boulangerie in Davisville Village)


Blend ingredients in blender (we used our beloved Magic Bullet!) Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange bread on rimmed baking sheet. Brush with oil & season with salt and pepper. Bake until beginning to crisp, about 8 minutes. Heap mushrooms onto toasts and drizzle with vinaigrette. Serve on one of your grandmother’s pretty old china plates, raise a glass, and “toast”!